They started out robbing Family Dollar stores, pointing guns at employees until they handed over cash. Then, the violent suspects added Waffle House diners and other drug stores to their string of crimes, according to police.
During the past month, the same three men have been linked to 10 armed robberies in metro Atlanta, the FBI said Wednesday.
Sometimes, one or two men work alone and other times the trio is together, often wearing the same clothing for each robbery, investigators said. On Monday night, the same suspects allegedly robbed a Sandy Springs Waffle House, and the three could be linked to other crimes, FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said.
“Any armed robbery, we’re going to take a close look at it,” Rowson said.
Though no serious injuries have been reported, shots have been fired during some of the robberies, and in one case, a store employee was punched in the face, Rowson said.
“These guys are really bold and it’s amazing no one has been hurt,” he said.
Most of the businesses targeted are on major roadways close to interstates, according to information from various police agencies. The three suspects have worn similar clothes — sometimes the exact same — from crime to crime, pictures from security cameras show.
One man is typically seen wearing a black skull cap, red scarf covering his face, a brown and plaid striped jacket and black pants, the FBI said. The second suspect has been seen wearing a black mask, black hoodie with the words “Been Broke Before,” and red sweat pants, and the third suspect wears a black fitted cap, hoodie, gray pants with rips and black and white shoes, according to investigators.
The crime spree started in south Fulton on Jan. 8, when three men robbed the Family Dollar on Roosevelt Highway in Union City at gunpoint, the FBI said. Four days later, at least two of the same suspects robbed the Family Dollar on Flat Shoals Road in Union City.
Then, on Jan. 14, a third Family Dollar store was robbed at gunpoint by two men. This crime took place on West Avenue in Conyers, according to police.
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From Family Dollars, the suspects moved to Waffle House restaurants, investigators believe. On Jan. 18, two DeKalb County diners — five miles apart — were robbed at gunpoint by a lone suspect. First, the Waffle House on DeKalb Industrial Way was hit, followed by the Waffle House on Lavista Road, according to police.
From there, the suspects targeted a Family Dollar in East Point, a CVS Pharmacy in Chamblee and a Walgreens in Sandy Springs, the FBI said.
Most recently, the trio is believed responsible for robbing Waffle Houses in both north Fulton and Cherokee County, where a customer returned shots, according to police.
On Saturday morning, the suspects attempted a robbery at an Acworth-area Waffle House on Ga. 92, according to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office. When a suspect fired a shot inside the restaurant, a customer pulled out a gun and fired a single shot, Sgt. Marianne Kelley said.
“It scared them off,” Kelley said Wednesday.
The suspects made a quick getaway, Kelley said, because that Waffle House is along I-75. Late Tuesday, a man entered the Waffle House on Northridge Road, pointed a pistol at employees and demanded money from the cash register, Sandy Springs police Sgt. Sam Worsham said.
The recent robberies have prompted Waffle House to review safety protocols to keep employees and customers safe, Pat Warner, spokesman for the eateries, said late Wednesday.
Anyone with information about the robberies or the identity of the three suspects is asked to contact Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS (8477).